Rockbox mail archiveSubject: Legal issues, names, privacy, and pseudonyms
Legal issues, names, privacy, and pseudonyms
From: Fred Maxwell <rockbox_at_anti-spam.org>
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 12:19:21 -0400
Björn Stenberg wrote:
> The listed author of the Othelo plugin, who calls himself
> Bluechip", refuses to tell us who he is. This has left us
> legally vulnerable, since we do not know who wrote of all
> the code we distribute.
> I have for a long time tried to convince "Bluechip" to
> identify himself, but he steadfastly refuses. Today I
> tried and failed yet again. I see no other solution
> than to remove the offending code.
I am a strong advocate of privacy and have to side with Bluechip on this
one. Suppose, for instance, that Bluechip holds a job with the RIAA.
Should he be forced to put his job at risk because he contributes to a
project that promotes MP3 playback (something that the RIAA hates)?
What if he works for Creative Labs (in a non-engineering role) but they
would view this as helping a competitor (Archos) sell products? What if
he is an employee of Microsoft and does not want them to find out that
he's contributing to an open-source project? Suppose Steve Wozniak
wanted to contribute but did not want to float his e-mail address out
there for all to see? I could certainly understand his desire to use a
Knowing the name of a person who contributed code would not put the
Rockbox team on any more solid legal footing. Knowing a name or
pseudonym is no different if you have never met the person. Could you
point him out in a court of law if you knew his name? No. If Bluechip
told you his name was "Bob Smith", how would you even know if that was
true? If you were sued by Archos and could tell them that his name was
"Bob Smith", how would that improve your position over just knowing him
by his pseudonym of Bluechip? Do you think that Archos's attorneys
would say "well, so long as you know his name, we'll drop this lawsuit"?
Fred Maxwell (or so you believe...)
Received on 2004-06-08